NBA Rumors: Pre-2021 Deadline Trade Buzz on Aaron Gordon and More

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistMarch 24, 2021

NBA Rumors: Pre-2021 Deadline Trade Buzz on Aaron Gordon and More

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    Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

    We've reached the final stretch of the NBA trading period for the 2021 season. The window will close at 3 p.m. on Thursday, meaning teams are running out of time to pull off any in-season swaps.

    While this year's deadline hasn't been a drama-drenched affair headlined by superstar talent, several quality contributors are expected to be available. Several more could find their way to new teams as the subjects of post-deadline buyouts.

    Which teams will pull the trigger on a trade before Thursday afternoon? Which will wait to see who becomes available after the deadline? Let's take a look at some of the latest pre-deadline buzz.

Celtics Considered 'Front-Runners' for Aaron Gordon

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    Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press

    According to Jared Weiss and Sam Amick of The Athletic, Orlando Magic forward Aaron Gordon requested a trade back in February. The 25-year-old elaborated on his trade request following Tuesday's loss to the Denver Nuggets.

    "There's been times where I just expressed my frustration to management and the frustration with the losses, the injuries, the way we've been playing," Gordon told reporters. "... It's just my frustration kind of boiling over, I would say."

    Presumably, Gordon would like to land with a contender, and the Boston Celtics appear happy to oblige. According to Matt Moore of The Action Network, Boston is leading the Gordon chase:

    "The Boston Celtics are considered the front-runners to add Orlando Magic forward Aaron Gordon via trade, multiple sources confirmed to The Action Network Monday night. While the framework of a deal is in active discussion and considered the leading offer, sources say no deal has been agreed upon and the Magic are expected to continue to take offers up until Thursday's deadline."

    According to The Athletic's Shams Charania, the Houston Rockets have also discussed a trade with Orlando, while the Minnesota Timberwolves, Denver Nuggets and Portland Trail Blazers also have interest.

Spurs Making LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan Available

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    Darren Abate/Associated Press

    Gordon can likely be had for the right price. The same appears to be true of San Antonio Spurs standouts LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan.

    "The San Antonio Spurs have made it clear that LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan are available via trade, according to league sources," Bleacher Report's Jake Fischer wrote. "Gregg Popovich, of course, announced Aldridge and San Antonio's mutual interest to part ways, yet the rumblings surrounding his destination have remained quiet."

    The presence of "mutual interest" in the Spurs and Aldridge parting ways suggests that a buyout could occur if a deal isn't reached by Thursday. Of course, this only increases the likelihood that some teams will wait to see if Aldridge can be had on the buyout market.

    If a team wants DeRozan, however, it may have to engage in trade talks. According to Fischer, the likelihood of DeRozan and San Antonio reaching a buyout "remains low."

Nuggets Interested in Harrison Barnes

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    Chris Carlson/Associated Press

    The Denver Nuggets sit at 26-17 and in prime position to make their way into the postseason. They are looking to buy at the deadline and appear to have their sights set on Sacramento Kings forward Harrison Barnes.

    "Two days before the trade deadline, the Denver Nuggets have identified a new potential target to fill a gap on the wing: Sacramento’s Harrison Barnes," Mike Singer of the Denver Post wrote. "The Nuggets are interested in the veteran forward, a league source told the Denver Post, but the price for the 28-year-old is unclear."

    Price, of course, will be a factor, but Sacramento could be inclined to sell. The Kings are 13th in the Western Conference and long shots to make the postseason. Barnes has two years remaining on his contract after this season and should net a fairly hefty trade return.

    So far this season, the 28-year-old has averaged 16.3 points and 6.5 rebounds while playing just under 36 minutes per game. He would be a nice addition for most contending teams.

Hawks Among Teams Interested in Lonzo Ball

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    Matthew Hinton/Associated Press

    Lonzo Ball made his way to the New Orleans Pelicans as part of the Anthony Davis trade. He could soon find his way out of New Orleans via a trade. According to The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor, the Pelicans aren't actively shopping Ball, but he is drawing interest.

    "There's skepticism around the league that the Pelicans will move Lonzo Ball ahead of the deadline, but that won't stop teams from trying. League sources say the Bulls and Hawks are both in pursuit," O'Connor wrote.

    Among the those interested are the Atlanta Hawks, according to Charania.

    A strong offer could be enough to pry Ball away from the Pelicans—depending on how eager New Orleans is to give the 23-year-old a massive payday. According to Amick, Ball will be seeking a deal worth at least $20 million annually.

    "One source who has discussed the Lonzo dynamics with New Orleans said the 23-year-old guard is hoping to make approximately $20 million annually on his next deal," Amick wrote.

    Ball will be a restricted free agent in the offseason. A team could theoretically give him an offer that the Pelicans won't match, leaving New Orleans with nothing in return.